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Your personal opinion - prefer to fly London to Dublin, or train/ferry?

Hi! This is my first post here and I am quite excited! :-)

I am sure this has been asked before, but maybe not in precisely this way. My husband and I (in our 50s, able to get to Europe once a year if we're lucky) are going to be spending 3 weeks in London this coming November. Neither of us have ever been to Ireland.

He has colleagues who work for Guinness and Jameson, and can get us into behind-the-scenes tours for free, so going to Dublin for a few days is a no-brainer.

My question is: how do you personally prefer to travel from London to Dublin? I have researched the sail/rail option (the man in seat 61 knows his stuff!) and looked into flights, and I can see that both options have much to recommend them. So I am on the fence and need help making a decision.

FWIW I loooooove trains and looking out at scenery.

Thanks in advance for your insights, Rick Steves People! :-)

Posted by
4528 posts

Fly unless you want to visit something enroute. November can have bad conditions in the North Sea though.

Posted by
11263 posts

If you are flying (that's what I'd do), note that officially, London has six airports - Heathrow, Gatwick, City, Stansted, Luton, and Southend - and all six have flights to Dublin. If you book early enough to get a good price, fly out of City, as it's easier, faster, and cheaper to get from central London to City than to the other airports. For the other airports, investigate transit to the airport before booking your ticket. Particularly if you have to take an expensive taxi or minicab (prebooked car) to a farther flung airport, that will eat up any savings on the "cheaper" flight.

Posted by
25 posts

Thanks, Harold! That is super helpful. I didn't realize there were flights to Dublin from all 6 airports. Really appreciate the help!

Posted by
1268 posts

I have done the England/Ireland ferry as a college student, no issues.
About 7 years ago my mother and I were taking ing the ferry from ireland to Scotland, just before the half way point we got the announcement that because of a medical emergency for a passenger, we were returning to our point of origin. So, that poor soul got unloaded, and we had to start our journey allall over again. I know, similiar things can happen to an airline passenger, but my sense is even if a flight had to be diverted , it would FEEL quicker. Not sure I can recommend ferries because of that, unless you just want the train/sail experience

Posted by
25 posts

Holy cats, doric8! Yes, turning back on a long ferry ride would feel endless. And waste more than an entire day. Not good!

Posted by
1014 posts

We have done the Rail/Sail option twice. Loved the experience and the rail was relaxing and enjoyed the scenery as we whizzed by. We bought round trip tickets, so we rail/sailed both ways from Dublin. Food on the ship is adequate, but nothing to write home about. My wife loved shopping in the store on board. There is a bar, so alcohol is abundant, if wanted.